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Hanami at Kamogawa in Kyoto
(Video) Hanami picnickers in Bunkyo
Picnic parties in a Japanese park full of blooming cherry trees

Hanami ( Japanese 花 見 , "looking at blossoms"), usually in the polite form of O-Hanami, is the Japanese tradition of celebrating the beauty of the cherry trees in bloom every spring with so-called "cherry blossom festivals".

The Japanese cherry blossom ( sakura ) blooms from late March to early May, depending on the area in Japan. The media reports on the temporal and geographical course ( cherry blossom front ) of the ten-day local flowering.

The Japanese cherry does not bear any edible fruit and has a particularly large number of flowers. February is the coldest month in Japan. Together with the cherry blossoms, you can enjoy more pleasant temperatures and feel the forces of nature awaken.

Before the cherry in April, the plum trees ( Ume ( , Latin prunus mume )) bloom in February and the peach trees (桃 momo) in March. However, hanami mainly refers to the Japanese cherry, which is planted much more frequently in parks and gardens.


The tradition of Hanami and the associated festivals have probably been around since the Nara period (710–794). There are written records of this from the Heian period (794–1185).


The Japanese particularly appeal to the aspects of beauty and transience:

  • Without bearing fruit, the Japanese cherry only lives in its outstanding beauty for the few days in the year that it blooms (see also the Japanese proverb " Hana yori dango ").
  • After a long period of ripening and only a short period of blooming, the bloom falls in the moment of perfect beauty. The sakura thus gives samurai and literature an example of a worthy, young death.


Hanami near Himeji Castle , Japan

In the ten days or so when the cherries are in bloom in their own area, almost all residents of Japan celebrate a hanami with friends, colleagues or family in a park or other designated location. O- Bentō and often plenty of beer or sake as well as a mat to sit on the floor are among the ingredients with which one gathers near and under cherry trees in the city and in the country. In order to have the best seats ready at the weekend, some “placeholders” go to the site hours in advance, equipped with a large tarpaulin, because often only one or two weekends are suitable for this purpose per year, even in good weather.

The evening hanami after work is particularly popular among colleagues and students: in some parks, the cherry trees ( yozakura , 夜 桜 ) at night are illuminated for this purpose , the white and light pink flowers create a wonderful contrast to the blackness of the night.

Hanami in Germany

In many cities there are Hanami festivals of different sizes, mostly organized by the local German-Japanese Societies (DJG). The largest Hanami festival in Germany is likely to be the cherry blossom festival in Hamburg , for which tens of thousands of people have gathered on the banks of the Outer Alster every spring since 1968 and which ends with a magnificent fireworks display to show that around 5000 cherry trees are planted in the city by the Japanese companies based here this year - only in 2011 the fireworks were canceled due to the Tōhoku earthquake and the nuclear disaster in Fukushima .

To express the special bond with Japan, the so-called “Cherry Blossom Princess” is appointed in odd years for a two-year term - as special ambassador of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for Japan. Alongside Melbourne and Washington , Hamburg is one of only three cities in the world that has the right to choose a cherry blossom princess, granted by the influential Japan Cherry Blossom Association (JCBA, Tokyo).

There are other Hanami festivals e.g. B. in Hanover , Passau , Wolfsburg , Bonn , Teltow , Bad Langensalza and Berlin .

motion pictures

The director Doris Dörrie released the feature film Cherry Blossoms - Hanami in 2008 , in which a similar festival can be seen in some scenes.

See also

Web links

Commons : Hanami  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Cherry Blossom Festival Hamburg 2011. Accessed on October 2, 2014 .
  2. a b cherry blossom fireworks in Hamburg. Retrieved May 19, 2012 .
  3. Information on the 15th Hanami on the Bad Langensalza website